Wednesday, September 10, 2008
9/11/01.. then GWOT?
We're on the eve of another 9/11 anniversary, the heartsickness of which beggers description for most people. The thing about memorials, though, is that they're supposed to make us feel as though we've learned to be better people by coming to a full understanding of a past tragedy. The problem with this anniversary in my mind is that although people do feel pain and sadness, our government continues to prosecute unjust wars against the people of Afganistan and Iraq. Thus the tragedy grows ever larger.
A quiet but knowledgeable opponent of the war against Iraq, General William Odom was buried at Arlington earlier this week. Among the many times he was interviewed and quoted about the war one comment stands out as being most succinct:
'The ill will created by our unilateral invasion and occupation of Iraq has shattered our ability to create a cooperative approach to stabilizing this region. Only a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq could win back the support of our allies and a few others for a joint approach to the region.
Once the invasion began in March 2003, all of the ensuing unhappy results became inevitable. The invasion of Iraq may well turn out to be the greatest strategic disaster in American history. In any event, the longer we stay, the worse it will be. Until that is understood, we will make no progress with our allies or in devising a promising alternative strategy.'
Yesterday the Congressional Budget Office brought fresh evidence of the nation's worsening fiscal picture and predictions of an economy that could slide into recession. The agency's latest estimate of total appropriations since 2001 to fight terrorism and for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan is $858 billion.
The war may no longer be front-page news but thousands of Americans are still fighting and dying there. The war is costing American taxpayers $10 billion a month--that is $10 billion that cannot be spent on health care, education and many other urgent priorities.
As we mourn the victims of 9/11 tomorrow, we should give some thought to those who have died since and those yet to die from a failure of American leadership after that trauma. Where will we be a year from now?
PS: I meant to mention how the election might get stolen again. They've caged 600k voters in Ohio already. Can you imagine being denied a ballot because you lost your house?